Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Review: Heart Dog "Surviving the Loss of your Canine Soul Mate"

Heart Dog, pictured with MY Heart Dog, Phoenix.

Hi everyone! I hope you all are doing well. Today I am reviewing Roxanne Hawn's book: Heart Dog - Surviving the Loss of Your Canine Soul Mate. Roxanne also has a wonderful award-winning blog called Champion of My Heart which has been one of my favorite blogs for a long time. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

About Heart Dog:
The death of any dog is hard. The death of a Heart Dog – a canine soul mate – is much, much worse … Even if you’ve experienced pet loss before, losing your canine soul mate is different. Typical grief advice isn’t nearly enough. Heart Dog answers all the big questions about canine soul mates, offers practical ideas for coping with each day’s dose of grief, and provides inspiration for finding your place in the world after such a profound loss. Others have survived the grief. You can too. Let Heart Dog be your guide. 

You can buy Heart Dog on amazon as an e-book for $3.99 or the physical copy for $8.99.

I'm going to preface this by saying that I have not lost my Heart Dog yet but I did lose another pet that was as close to being a soul mate as you can get without being a dog. My chinchilla Chloe was absolutely my heart. You can find her picture under the "My Angels" tab in the sidebar. She and I had an amazing bond unlike any other. She was not just a chinchilla and she did not behave like a typical chinchilla. She came when called, asked to be picked up, loved to be cuddled and would ride around on my shoulder. She went to work with me and she comforted me on my darkest days.

Sadly, she suffered from a bunch of ailments in her short three years (*chinchillas can live into their 20s!) and the last straw was a severe anesthesia reaction after a dental procedure. I lived in a small town at the time and the emergency vet refused to see us that evening because "they do not treat exotics". The only other emergency vet was over 4 hours away. Chloe died in my arms on September 23 2009 around 12:30am. When she went it felt like my heart was ripped into a billion pieces. It was extremely traumatizing. Nearly six years later and I still have days where I can't talk about her. I never got over it.

We have since replaced the label with a proper engraved one.

"I am forever changed by the loss" - Roxanne Hawn

When I heard Roxanne was writing a book about her experience of losing her Heart Dog, Lilly, I knew that I would want to read it. I'm so happy to be able to pass this along and maybe someone else will find some comfort from this book like I did. It's nice to know that I'm not weird and not alone for feeling the way I did when Chloe died. The book's target audience is for dog lovers but I think anyone who has loved and lost a special pet, regardless of species, can find some comfort in reading Heart Dog.

The book never tells you what to do or how to feel or how to act. It's more suggestions like a guide. It feels like the author is holding your hand or hugging you and allowing you to feel how you feel. Someone who knows what you are going through and supports you. No judgements just kindness. Reading the book made my feel like I wasn't alone in my grief for the first time in a very long time. Someone actually understands what I'm going through!

Heart Dog offers a lot of practical advice for things you can do while you're grieving that might help but the advice is not pushy at all. I also really love her ideas for memorializing the beloved pet. The book also goes into "getting another pet" and talks about how you have to do what's right for you, regardless of all the people pushing for you to get another one and how other people just want you to go back to being happy.

This book will remain firmly on my shelf as I know that someday I will be needing it again. That's the only bad thing about having pets, they leave way too soon.

Photo Credit: Roxanne Hawn

To end this on a happy note, I can tell you that the author did get another dog! A very cute border collie puppy named Clover! You can read all about Clover and her homecoming by going here: Clover's Origin Story

Overall I believe Heart Dog - Surviving the Loss of Your Canine Soul Mate is an amazing book and I am honored that I was given the chance to review it. I would recommend it to anyone who has lost a beloved pet or as a gift to a friend who has lost a pet. I think everyone could benefit from reading it.

We were given our copy of Heart Dog in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss of Chloe at far too young an age. She sounds like she was really special. I have always been fascinated by Chinchillas - they look like Jim Henson creations and don't even seem real, with their huge eyes and super-soft fur.

    I want to read this book, too.

  2. Agreed with Jenna. Sad stuff but I'm sure this book comes in useful to grieving pet parents.

  3. Sorry about your short time with Chloe. It really never is enough time is it? This sounds like an interesting reading, thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. I'm so sorry about Chloe!

    What a sad, sad story. I don't think I could read it, especially because it has Nola's first collar on the cover! :,(

  5. Yes, the connection with that special being is pretty strong. Sounds like a very interesting book.


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